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Upright Women Wanted

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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  6,503 ratings  ·  1,551 reviews
In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.

"That girl's got more wrong notions than a barn owl's got mean looks."

Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her--a m
...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Tor.com
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  6,503 ratings  ·  1,551 reviews


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chai ♡
When Esther Augustus witnesses the public hanging of her lover, Beatriz, for "deviance" and "the possession of unapproved materials”, the fire in her is smothered, and something else inside her stumbles to the edge of a precipice, falls off. Esther wonders, not for the first time, what reason it is to cling so stubbornly to her defiance when the current is pulling so hard in the other direction. Esther then decides to run away to join the Librarians in the hope that the company of such “chaste, ...more
Emily (emilykatereads)
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dec 2019:

“be gay, do crimes, circulate books”

is tor pandering to me

April 2020:

This is a short story that packs a punch. Gailey introduces us into this western world that is in a near-future America. The librarians operate to bring Approved Materials to different outposts, but they have other goals.

This story follows the subversive, queer, antifascists librarians as they pick up a "package" to drop off elsewhere. Esther stows away in the librarians' cart with the hope of becoming a librarian. S
...more
Elle (ellexamines)
“When there’s people around who we don’t trust, we let them think we’re the kinds of people who are allowed to exist.”

Upright Women Wanted follows lead character Esther Augustus, daughter of a major ruler, as she runs away to join traveling librarians Bet, Leda, and Cye. In a post-apocalyptic Western society, people who don’t fit are a class all to themselves: some are hanged, like Esther’s old lover Beatriz. Some become librarians.

This novella is an excellent exploration of the pol
...more
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
This was absolutely just as amazing as I expected it to be. RTC ♥
Veronica
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a popular ARC in my office at the library, for obvious reasons! I really wanted to love the book (queer! subversive! librarians!) but it just didn't click for me. I think it's mainly that I, a humble ace, could not understand how the protagonist could go from mourning her best friend/lover (who was JUST executed) to eyeballing the hot enby trainee librarian in the space of a single day. Perhaps this seems perfectly normal to allosexuals and wouldn't bother other readers at all, but to m ...more
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
"The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing. " OH WOW CATCH ME CRYING FRIENDS
Beverly
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wanted and acquired! This is a fun, rooting, tooting cowgirl extravaganza in the New West. The future isn't bright in this post-apocalyptic world in which some states in the former USA have gone back in time to days of the cowboys. Most men and some women know how to shoot and how to ride. Men are large and in charge though with harsh punishment, like hanging for crimes like reading the wrong pamphlet and loving someone of the same sex. Our heroine, Esther, is a dumb kid who believes everything ...more
Lala BooksandLala
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read and discussed in this vlog https://youtu.be/iUN1Zx2N86M where I used a paid book recommendation service to choose what I read. ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This was cute and a few of the characters were great, but the story was really thin. I felt like the author just wanted to showcase these particular characters, not to tell a story really. The setting of the American West in a near future where gasoline was not readily available could have been rich, but we don’t really see enough of that society. Overall 2.5⭐️
Jenna
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopia, fiction, lgbtq
This is a different sort of book that doesn't fit neatly into any genre. It's a western set in a dystopian-future, an LGBQT+ romance, and an action adventure story complete with bandits, sheriffs, and old-fashioned shoot-em-up scenes. Sounds like a lot but lacks much of a plot. 5 stars for effort but overall, it fell far short of those 5 stars. A few chuckles and some kick-ass lesbian Librarians don't necessarily add up to an incredible story.  2.5 stars rounded up.
Shaun Hutchinson
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Now I want to be a librarian.
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
After watching her best friend/secret love of her life hang for possessing "unapproved materials" (resistance propaganda), Esther learns her high-ranking government official father has arranged for her to marry the man who was engaged to her dead lover.

It's time for Esther to make an escape and she does so by hiding in a librarian's book wagon.  She's spent her entire life pretending to be someone else in order to survive in a fascist society.  Continuing the role as a librarian --- an upright w
...more
Mara
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook-owned, arc
3.5 stars- This is a high concept SF that mostly delivers on its premise and is, even more importantly, fun. Picture it: ye dystopia future in The West. We've got a plucky band of Librarians who are ostensibly a part of the State's institutional arm meant to reinforce a regressive social order, but we quickly learn (along with our point of view character) that this band is more than it seems. I loved the thematic content of this, and much prefer this version of those themes over its predecessor, ...more
Mel (Epic Reading)
Wonderful novella! Action-packed western starring women and non-binary characters. Men need not apply; well... unless for the role of typical bad guy (lol). While there is a lot that is cliche western in Sarah Gailey's Upright Women Wanted; for every cliche there is an idea that I guarantee you've never read in a western story (novella in this case, 176 pages) before. Unless you're a Firefly fan, in which case read this immediately because you'll feel nostalgic for Mal and crew!

Characters
These
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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
This was a super fun, very queer alternative future western novella. Esther is escaping her territory in grief over her BFF/GF being hung and being forced to get engaged to a terrible dude by her authoritarian father. She stows away in the Librarian's wagon. Their official story is they deliver "Approved Materials" but they are really radical queer spies on horseback who aren't afraid to use their rifles. Esther learns the ropes of life on the road and falls for the librarian's nonbinary apprent ...more
Boston
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: f-f
4.5 stars
The Captain
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys!  I loved the author's books about hippo cowboys even though I didn't enjoy their fantasy novel.  So I was excited that their newest novella was once again set in the American West and deals with queer librarian spies on horseback.  I mean how can ye not get excited about that?  I got even more excited when Matey Tammy @ books,bones,andbuffy sent me a surprise copy of the novella.  She be awesome (seriously)!  Arrrr!

I really, really enjoyed this one.  Only a few small issues
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Amy Imogene Reads
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020, fantasy
4 stars

Resistance Librarians in a future Wild West. When one girl escapes her good-for-nothing town to find a place where she can be free to love who she wants, she's taken on the desert adventure of a lifetime.

Concept: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★
Characters: ★★★★

This is a short novel, so I'll make my review short and sweet.

Upright Women Wanted is great. It had a fantastic title, so I picked it up. I read the blurb "fight the State, be a Librarian" and I got excited. Then I opened it up, and I read it in o
...more
Lata
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love this, but ended up only liking this. I liked the idea of librarians travelling around an old West-like future, disseminating acceptable materials. The world is violent, difficult, with towns protected by Sheriffs, people needing papers attesting to their identities, tightly controlled information and lack of tolerance for difference.
What I had a hard time grasping was what the world was like. Something had happened in our future to render the world to the state it's in at the st
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read2020
Are you a coward, or are you a librarian? Queer librarian Western is the genre you didn't know you needed, from the same author who came up with alternate hippo history. I honestly just wish it were longer as I feel like the characters have interesting stories to tell.
Melanie  Brinkman
It's time to circulate "crime" across the country.

Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself in the librarians book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her - a marriage she doesn't want. A marriage to a man who who was engaged to the person she was in love with. A person who was just executed for being found with resistance propaganda.

When Esther gets discovered, she's about to find out she's not joined up with the people she thought. But what if they're the on
...more
Justine
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
**Macmillan has now reversed its position on the embargo mentioned below:

https://bookriot.com/2020/03/17/macmi...


I was really looking forward to this. I absolutely loved River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, and the alt-history with a Western feel that Gailey captured so well there. In Upright Women Wanted we have near future with a Western feel, but unfortunately I didn't feel Gailey pulled it off quite so successfully.

The main problem I think for me was that the world building was just not fles
...more
Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter
Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge
Read a Western
(This isn't a true western but I'm counting it *shrugs*)

This was an interesting world. It's a futuristic western. Something happened in this world (a large scale war I believe) that caused them to revert back to living life as the people depicted in "westerns" lived (wagons, six shooters, sheriffs and their posse, travel on the dusty open road by horseback). Cars, diesel fuel, electricity and other modern things exist but they are scarce. The governme
...more
Samantha
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 “I guess this was fine but I won’t remember a word of it in six months” Stars.

I loved Sarah Gailey’s American Hippo books, so I keep picking up her other work and expecting better than what I end up getting.

While this is a far better book than Magic for Liars in terms of narrative quality, it suffers from the same problem of being far, far better in concept than in execution.

Parts of this are cute and charming, but mostly the whole thing feels flat. Add in a protagonist who melodramatical
...more
Carey
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this so much more than I did. I'm a librarian. I'm queer. I'm subversive. Shit. This just didn't do it for me. It felt like a first draft of something bigger and better. There were only vague hints of worldbuilding. Every character felt only half finished and many of them interchangeable. Any conflict came from a shapeless, nameless concept of generic oppression.

Props for the idea, but this was little more than that.
E.
Anyway, now I want to join a band of queer librarians travelling on a horseback and maybe find l*ve and f*mily. Hm.
The Nerd Daily
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray

Tor.com Publishing has developed quite a name for themselves when it comes to incredibly well-written, weird, and original science fiction and fantasy reads. And Sarah Gailey’s upcoming novella, Upright Women Wanted, is no exception!

Playing off the classic western genre, Gailey kicks up dust, sweeping the reader away to a world they won’t soon want to leave. A future, near-dystopian, world where the State controls everything from ava
...more
TraceyL
A queer western with a lot of weird stuff going on.

I'm not sure whether this book falls under the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre or alternate history. It's a western and the main characters travel around in horse-drawn wagons. Cars do exist but no one has gas or other modern technology. The government rules with an iron fist and has a large army. There were hints that the country has been divided up differently, or at least that there are states where you can't travel to anymore, but it wasn't
...more
Dahlia
That was so gay <3 ...more
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This June, as we observe LGBTQ Pride—the annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning communities—we...
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“When there's people around that we don't trust, we let them think we're the kinds of people who are allowed to exist. And the only kind of Librarian that's allowed to exist is one who answers to she.” 6 likes
“She wanted that satisfaction. She wanted it for herself wanted it like a half-starved alley-rat watching that table through a window on a bellyaching night. She didn't know how to get it—but she had a feeling that if she stuck with the Librarians for long enough, she might be able to figure it out. How to feast instead of starving.

How to like the person who she was instead of fighting it.”
2 likes
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